Triggerfish Animation, the South African animation studio that has animated award winning and popular movies such as an adaptation of Roald Dahl and Quentin Blake classic book, Revolting Rhymes and Zambezia, has put together a free step-by-step guide for those interested in animating their own short stories. The animation guide is done by Triggerfish in partnership with the Goethe-Institut and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Development and Cooperation.

Triggerfish have also timed the initiative so it co-incides with upcoming school holidays in South Africa with the hope that young people, especially teenagers, will sign up and learn animation.

"Aspiring animators can use this to learn how to write and animate their own short story, then post their animation on YouTube and send it to Triggerfish, who’ll be making the best animations and their creators famous across their Facebook, Instagram and YouTube channels. Animators must enter by Thursday, 31 January 2019 to be in the running to be named Africa’s Next Top Animator and to have their winning films screened at the most important event for the African animation industry – Cape Town International Animation Festival," said the company in a statement announcing the animation academy.

Triggerfish Animation Studio

Digital storytelling

Although animated movies have transcended being only for youth, there is no doubt they remain a favourite among young people given how full movie theatres get on any launch week of animated movie. The interest in animation, as Triggerfish are exploring, also extends beyond just watching and into creation.

On 16 June 2016, Youth Day holiday in South Africa, iAfrikan in partnership with Nigeria's Genii Games and Microscopia hosted a Digital Storytelling Workshop in Johannesburg for 26 children from primary schools in Soweto. The enthusiasm with which the children participated in creating their own animation by day's end suggests that there is a greater yearning among South African youth to be creators and not just consumers of content.

Tau le Skolopad - animation produced by primary school children at the 16 June 2016 Digital Storytelling Workshop.

Beyond just the fun of creating their own animations, learning how to animate, as we witnessed in 2016, allows young people to tell stories that no one else would be able to tell.

Culture and narratives

Triggerfish, together with its partners, have said that, with its step-by-step guide, it hopes to introduce aspiring Afrikan animators to the principles of animation and the tools they need to make their first short film with just a smartphone and Internet access.

"It’s easier than ever to get started in animation. We’ve been amazed by the quality of films we’ve been receiving from children as young as 11. In today’s visual world, animation is an in-demand skill, but more importantly it’s really fun. We know Africa’s youth are going to enjoy playing with animation - and may discover an exciting new career path at the same time," said Stuart Forrest, CEO of Triggerfish.

There are separate categories for animators under 13 and under 20, with additional "all ages" prizes awarded for animation, character design, storyboarding and storytelling. The winners will receive mentorship from Triggerfish.

Cover image credit: A scene from the movie "Adventures in Zambezia". Triggerfish Animation Share this via: